Cops share a cup of joe with community
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – In an effort to improve the relationship between police officers and community members, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office hosted its first Coffee with a Cop event Wednesday at the McDonald's off of Atlantic Boulevard, just east of Girvin Road.
It was modeled after successful Coffee with a Cop programs in other areas.
"There's no agendas, there's no speeches. It's just an opportunity for people to come and talk to us over a cup of coffee," said JSO Lt. Mike Beckmann.
Dozens of community members from all over Duval County showed up to meet the men and women behind the badge and voice their concerns over a cup of coffee. The officers admitted that some of their interactions didn't start off on a good note.
"First thing she says is 'I don't like cops.' But she came and she talked to us and she let me know a couple concerns in her neighborhood -- and by the time she left, we were laughing and having a great time and a great conversation." Beckmann said.
Shanteyl Green brought her children so they could interact with the officers and face their fears.
"My daughter was scared because of all the weapons they carry on their belt, so she was afraid. I wanted her to know there's nothing to be afraid of," Green said.
After some conversation over breakfast, she says her kids now have a positive understanding.
"Officers are friendly. They're here to help us," Green said.
While some community members had a change of heart about cops, others admit they're not fans of the police
"I feel like most cops, especially in bigger cities, are corrupt," Chase Lansinder said.
Lansinder said it will take more than coffee to change his mind, Overall, the Sheriff's Office said the event was a success and really wants the community to know.
"We're regular people just like you," Lansinder said. "If you need us, call us."
The Sheriff's Office said it will continue to work with McDonald's restaurants to host more events like this one throughout Jacksonville with plans to improve community relationships one cup of coffee at a time.